Electronic filing: Take the leap

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Q. How can I best organize my records and customer files?

A. Electronic filing has been available for several years, but few HME companies have taken advantage of this technology. There are many reasons why companies have not taken this big leap forward. They may not realize how simple it is to set up and use. Or maybe their HME software doesn't have the ability to integrate customer files into their program. There is also a misconception that it is very expensive. Finally, they may be holding back because of the Medicare requirements to keep signed original CMNs, delivery tickets, ABNs and AOBs.

I was also hesitant to use this technology. We took the leap at my HME company about four years ago and now I can't imagine functioning without it. It was extremely easy to set up and use. We invested less than $400 for a mid-range scanner and less than $100 per month to use our HME software vendor's system. We used a vendor that had electronic filing or document imaging built in, and it was fully integrated with customer records.

As for the Medicare requirements: I would recommend taking the safe route and keeping all original documents for all Medicare and Medicaid transactions. It's a simple process. You scan in all documents; shred the ones that you don't need to keep, which is most of them; then batch file the required originals into a dated folder. If you ever need to go back and pull the original, go to the date folder for the entire batch and locate it quickly.

With electronic filing, there will be no more searching for a lost or misplaced file. You will save money by not having to buy more file shelves and folders, by not having to create space to store them, and by reducing staff time to file them and find them. But the biggest benefit of all is that you now have a backed up file of all of your records, so if you have a fire or natural disaster, all of your records are safe.

Michael Tracey is president of Mike Tracey Consulting, LLC. Reach him at 920-493-5121 or mike.tracey@miketraceyconsulting.com.